LETTER: Make sure you're recycling right

Plastic bags and other contaminants can disrupt the recycling process.

  • By
  • | 3:00 p.m. April 6, 2023
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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Recycle right

As I am on my daily 4-mile walk every day, it saddens me to see how many people do not know how to recycle the proper way.

Numerous people put their recyclables in small Publix or Walmart plastic bags, then throw them into their recycling bins! These plastic bags jam up the huge conveyer belts.

If everyone would Google the recycling process, they would see how these bags jam the machine up. Then there are people at both ends of the machine so that when they stop the machine, they have to sort out all the problems like plastic bags plus the items that aren’t recyclable.

What a shame! Plus, I hate to say it, but I see the recycling bins getting put in the regular garbage trucks. I called up a couple of times asking how that is getting recycled when it’s thrown in a regular truck, and both times they really couldn’t give me a logical explanation.

Pat Barile

Palm Coast

Editor’s note: We asked Waste Pro about recycling bins being emptied into garbage trucks, and about proper garbage and recycling practice. Waste Pro Communications Manager Joy Kurtz emailed the following explanation:

"Waste Pro collects co-mingled recyclable material in rear-load collection vehicles. Rear-load vehicles can also be utilized for trash services. The material inside the collection vehicle and not the type of collection vehicle is what determines the disposal location.

"All co-mingled recyclable materials are collected weekly via bins in Flagler County and Palm Coast and ultimately delivered to Waste Pro’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Ocala, Florida for processing.

"Once the items are processed at the MRF, they are sold via various brokers to end users who ultimately give the material its second life.

"Bins containing contaminated materials (including plastic bags, food waste, etc.) will be tagged for non-compliance. The tag program works as an educational outreach effort to assist with cleaning up the recycling placed in the bin weekly.

"A resident can clean up the contents of their bin and place it out the following week with their normal recycling collection. If the resident does not choose to clean up the bin’s contents, the items will be collected in the trash truck for proper disposal.

"Plastic bags are not part of the program recyclables and therefore should not be placed in recycling bins for collection.

"Plastic bags and other contaminants can disrupt the belts and other equipment in a recycling processing facility or MRF. If plastic bags are found in a recycling bin, the bin will be marked with a non-compliance (tag) notice and collected with a trash truck.

"To view more on waste services and how to recycle right, please visit palmcoast.gov/customer-service/garbage."


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